Norwich Insane Asylum

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Norwich Insane Asylum Recent archaeological evidence from digs at the site of the abandoned Norwich State Hospital indicate that it was the site of a Native American village about 5,000 years ago. According to State Archaeologist Nicholas Bellantoni, about 8,800 artifacts have been uncovered so far, which suggest a “unique village setting for the time.” The original asylum, dubbed the Norwich State Hospital for the Insane, was established in 1904. The site comprised two two-story buildings, one for women and one, known as Salmon Hall, for male patients. A cottage on the grounds was erected for doctors. Forty patients transferred from Middletown brought the total number of patients up to fifty one, with space enough to accommodate 104. A tuberculosis sanatorium established in 1912 added another administrative building and two shacks for patients. The insane asylum and tuberculosis hospital would quickly fill to capacity, eventually join as one institution, and be forced to expand their facilities throughout the 20th Century. The site eventually encompassed several buildings spread out over 470 acres, many connected via underground tunnels. The first documented tragedy to occur at the asylum was the suicide of a patient. Edward K. Arvine, a lawyer, had voluntarily admitted himself as a sufferer of “melancholia.” In December of 1914, he hanged himself in his room with an improvised rope of torn bedclothes, attached to an iron grating. His death would be but the first of many tragedies at the institution. An explosion of a hot water heater in 1919 killed two employees, teamster Fred Ladd and night attendant Thomas Duggan. Hospital cook Fred Smith, while crossing the road, was struck and killed in 1925, by an automobile driven by Robert Anderson, a supervisor at the nearby tuberculosis sanatorium. Annie Prudenthal, a trained nurse and former patient at

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